Feel free to poke fun. I am going from lifetime boarder to moving home 2 youngsters to pasture turnout @ my house. I have a 12x40 run-in @ our new place. I have a small Kubota tractor with loader and a manure spreader. What is the most turnkey way to manage manure in the run-in shed?
Do I just use the loader? Someone mentioned a straight blade or box blade to pile first and get a cleaner result. I am not that familiar with all of the implements and how to best use them.
Also - do you use a harrow or a landscape rake to break up the manure in the pasture?
I would love help from those of you who are more experienced. Thank you!
Not sure what you really mean but here goes ~ I use my ATV attached to a John Deere garden type cart ~ I drive into the sheds and pitch fork manure in cart ~ also pick up in paddocks and then dump contents at the manure pile located at the WEST end ( outside of paddocks)of the pastures. My ponies/ horses are in paddocks with run-in-sheds at night - access to pastures during the day weather/Mud permitting. I do use the equine fresh pellets in the run-in sheds - makes cleaning easier and keeps sheds more comfortable for all. I put ten bags of pellets in the cart - slit at top of the bags - stick hose into each bag for about one minute - deliver pellets to shed - split bags and scatter shavings. I do recommend daily pick up ~ keeping up with manure in run -in-sheds makes a huge difference.
I cleaned mine with a muck bucket - on the back of my golf cart. Then composted. I second the idea to clean it everyday! I bedded them with shavings as well. Cleaned it just like I would clean a stall.
The golf cart was just easier to drive into the paddock, and into the shed. I would think the tractor would be cumbersome.
Consider the footing/bedding you want, and realize that if your horses spend a considerable amount of time in their shelter, you WILL want to be cleaning it out very often, like daily. Of course you can skip a day, even several, but that just makes it messier and harder when you do clean up.
I pick up my whole sacrifice paddock EVERY day from April through December, just trundling the wheelbarrow around and scooping. Keeps the dirt/sand surface clean, looks nice, flies minimized. Sounds like a huge job but mine have learned to poop in one convenient corner, mostly, so it's like 10 minutes, tops. When it's too wet to scoop, I run the flexible harrow around and break up the piles that are there. After a long winter of not picking (too dark, too cold, poop is buried anyhow) I have some serious mucking to do around the feeders, and a lot of harrowing, but I'm talking like half a day's work, not that bad.
You do want your shelter to be HIGH and DRY. If you've got clay, you're going to have to deal with awful mud. PLAN NOW. Go look at the paddock after it rains and see where the water sits. Can you change this by doing some trenching or excavating around the paddock? If there are problem areas, you might consider scraping up the topsoil, putting down a layer of geotextile fabric, and back-filling with some type of small gravel or better soil than your native clay. Gravel won't bother their feet, but if you don't give it a "base" that's impervious, it will disappear sooner or later--sooner if it's clay.
I have a horse porch that sits right outside my barn, under an overhang I built for shelter. I enclosed the area underneath the overhang (10 x 36 feet) with used RR ties and this keeps the soil/sand/bedding mix that makes up the floor from migrating. Every now and then I chuck in a few bags of pelleted bedding, which breaks down slowly and keeps the consistency the way I like it. My horses often sleep out there. It's not deep or cushy, but they like it anyhow.
If it's just going to be a dirt floor, drive straight in with the loader,
tilt the bucket down about half way,
put the edge right near the bottom edge of the back wall,
lower the bucket to barely touch the ground but not lift the front tractor wheels off the ground,
back out pulling the manure with you,
lift the bucket to leave the manure in a line outside the building so it can easily be scooped up and put on the pile with the loader.
Eventually you will drag enough of the dirt out anyway and need to put some back in, but to me this is the only way I would want a run-in shed to have to tend to.
We have four horses with a 12x24 run shed off the barn on one side of my sacrifice/riding arena (90' x 150' stone dust) and a shed row off the other side 12x42. This is what we have to deal with because we have had to built in contour with the hills. We also have 5 acres pasture (currently closed, NE winter and a snowmobile trail running through part of it). We pick the area 2 x a day. Husband is retired.
Forgot to mention in the winter it is very low tech manure forks and wheel barrow to the manure pile. If husband is alone, between feeding, mucking stall for old horse, run ins and turnout area it takes him one hour in am and 45 min in pm. If we both do it, takes 30 mins 2x daily.
Assuming that there is enough manure in the shed to make running the tractor practical that means that your horses have been standing around in their own shit for, at the very least, several days....more like weeks. Yuck. I would just do the right thing pick and remove daily.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
With just two horses...pick turnout daily. At least the run in shed. That's a small area to cover...if you do this daily as part of your routine it will only take 5-10 minutes.
I have two horses at home. The paddock is 75x220 dirt attached to the barn. The barn aisle is a run in when they're turned out. Every single day the paddock gets picked. Takes me all of 5-10 minutes tops. If you let it go a few days...the manure piles up and takes forever and multiple trips to remove...which means the person is less motivated to remove it when it becomes a major job. Not to mention a lot of manure gets churned into the ground and turns the place into a muck pit. And leaving manure around attracts and multiplies flies in summer, horses eating off of it get to "nom" their own worm larvae making deworming a moot point and they'll lay in it and stain the heck out of themselves if the run in fills up. Standing in it is rotten for their feet.
So yeah...it's totally worth it for only two horses and one average sized run in to remove that manure daily for the 5-10 minutes it takes.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
With seven horses, cleanup of what needs to be cleaned up is a daily task, and most days all the outside work can be done with the tractor in a few minutes. Even if there are only a couple of piles in the shed, when I'm on the tractor I'll get them out.
Why would you wait for it to get deep to use the tractor?????? It probably takes less than a spoonful of fuel for the tractor and it would take more than a spoonful of fuel for me to do it by hand.